Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has finally admitted that schools are facing a recruitment crisis. Reports suggest that this is the worst recruitment crisis within education for 36 years.
In a report we conducted over the summer we discovered 65% of headteachers polled felt that recruiting for teachers, particularly those with the necessary maths and science skills, has become hugely challenging; there can be a deficit of over 25% in some subjects. “There are subjects where we have always struggled to hit our recruitment targets.” expressed by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan. She added “We need more maths teachers. This government has placed a huge emphasis on maths in the course of the last parliament.”
Couple this subject shortage with the fact that a reported 2 out of every 5 teachers leaving the profession after 3 years; a worryingly high figure in any profession. Why are teachers leaving a profession that they have trained hard so hard to be in? Is workload driving teachers away? The average working week for a primary school teacher today is 59.3 hours.
One thing for sure we are in the midst of changing landscape within education in the UK. There is a rising student populace, with it being forecasted that the number of secondary school pupils is set to rise by 20% within 10 years reaching 3.3 million by 2024. This with the shortages of Students looking to qualify in STEM subjects beyond A-Level; looks like a challenging times ahead.
So why are school leavers and graduates not looking to teaching as a career option? Could an improving economy have had an impact with the best university graduates now tempted away from teaching roles to more lucrative positions. UCAS have reported that applications for teacher training have fallen by 9% within a year. However Teach First have argued that its strategy for attracting graduates who had little intention of going into teaching has proved beneficial. The charity also attempts to attract people in private sector careers to transition into teaching: while over half the 2003 teachers who left the classroom for a period of time have now returned- highlighting a growing trend in “portfolio careers”. Yet despite hearing success such as that of Teach First we still find ourselves in a position where our head teachers are having sleepless nights over their recruitment shortages.
What do you think is leading to the current teacher shortage? Is it that teachers are feeling undervalued by society? Is it long working hours and financial limitations? How would you combat the current recruitment crisis? Have your say… You can read the full eteach recruitment landscape report here